DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Witnesses and law enforcement have conflicting stories of what happened during a police-involved shooting that killed a 21-year-old man, last week.
According to Miami-Dade Police, there is no body camera or dash cam video of the killing of Jamar Rollins, and friends and family of the subject want to know why.
Police Union President John Rivera said, Thursday afternoon, that the officer had no choice but to shoot 21-year-old Rollins, Friday night. According to Rivera, Rollins pointed a gun at law enforcement after he was pulled over for driving erratically.
Friends of Rollins have questioned why the officers were not wearing body cameras. Rivera said because those officers work in investigations, they did not have body cameras assigned to them.
“These guys don’t carry cameras, and we still don’t have enough cameras for every officer, either,” Rivera said, “so you are going to have situations where officers are not going to be wearing cameras.”
Meanwhile, police officials confirmed that the officers, Andrew Garcia and Jesus Coto, returned to work on Thursday after being placed on administrative leave following the shooting.
Witnesses who spoke with 7News have said on-camera that they saw Rollins with his hands in the air when he was shot.
“I seen him in surrender mode, I seen him surrender,” Takeba Perpall said, holding her arms up to imitate what she saw.
Rivera said it is possible that body camera footage may not have even showed the scene fully.
“In this instance, we don’t know if it would have captured it anyway because the cameras point this way,” he said. “Maybe the officers head was pointed [another] way. There’s a lot of problems that still are not gonna be resolved with a camera.”
According to police, the witnesses who spoke to the media have not come forward to speak with officials, making both sides of the story conflicting.
On Tuesday night, the West Perrine community met with police to discuss the shooting.
Rollins’ mother and aunt confronted members of law enforcement. “That is my question. Why so many shots? Why so many?” Rollins’ mother said to Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez. “Once again — two in the leg, two in the arm, the other arm — they broke that arm — and then a chest shot. That’s my question.”
Rivera said police officers are trained to shoot until the threat “no longer exists.”
“We are trained. It’s ingrained into us that if there’s a threat, you continue to discharge your firearm until that threat no longer exists,” he said, “so the amount of rounds, in my world, is insignificant.”
Police reports indicate that, just over a month ago, Rollins struck an officer in the side of the face while trying to run from police in Tampa. Officers said he was kicking and punching when they tried to arrest him for allegedly stealing a dirt bike.
“At the end of the day, many of our police administrators don’t like to say it — and our elected officials certainly won’t say it — but keeping our community safe isn’t always pretty, but it’s necessary,” Rivera said.
Police are still looking for 25-year-old Devin Lamar Smith, who, they said, was at the scene of the shooting, Friday night, but fled the scene. He is also wanted for burglary and possession of a controlled substance, according to police.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the shooting.
If you have any information on Smith’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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